By David Madden
STRATHMERE, N. J. (CBS) – The lengthy battle over the future of Strathmere reached another critical juncture this week, with a New Jersey appellate court panel ruling against residential efforts to secede from Upper Township and become a part of Sea Isle City.
The tiny shore community may have less than 200-year-round residents, but the real estate represents 18% of the township’s tax base.
Upper Township mayor Richard Palombo says mainland residents couldn’t afford to take the hit if Strathmere were out of the equation.
“The individual households could realize a substantial amount of increase in their taxes and most of that’s based on school taxes,” said mayor Palombo.
The township committee denied a residential petition for secession four years ago, starting a legal fight that has seen that decision upheld by Superior Court, and now a three judge appeals panel, unanimously.
That means the New Jersey Supreme Court could decide not to hear what would be a final appeal, if it’s filed.
For his part, Palombo hopes he’s addressed Strathmere’s concerns over services and would like to see the dispute just go away.